UK-based company Financial.org turns out to be a scam, as it closed all the accounts of its clients and converted balances to its own useless cryptocurrency.
An unregulated UK-based firm called Financial.org has closed all its investors’ accounts denominated in US dollars and converted the balances to FION – its new cryptocurrency. The company said in one of its social media channels that the only way for customers to activate their new crypto accounts is by investing another $7,000 by the end of July 2018. Also, they cannot withdraw any FION tokens until next year.
Financial.org, which is known to be a sponsor of F1 team Williams, is managing up to $1 million for investors, most of whom are based in Asia. However, the company is not licensed to provide financial transactions. Regulators from the UK, Indonesia, Thailand, the UAE, Malaysia, Singapore, and Laos have added the company on their alert lists and warned potential clients to invest at their own risk.
Financial.org claims to be an education company with about 200,000 members. It also claims to be the official partner of Williams Martini Racing. During the weekend, the company said that it was closing all investors’ accounts to convert the balances to its new token.
CEO Arnaud Georges stated in the notice:
“These decisions made are final and non-reversible. Just wait for one short year to realize your massive profits,” adding that he hopes to become the first FOIN billionaire.
He also stated:
“Unhappy investors/members have been rumoured to be considering legal actions. […] Legal litigations will definitely take years with no assurance of success and you may lose the opportunity to cash out/realize your profits during the whole litigation period.”
According to Reuters, a Japanese investor demonstrated that his account balance of $9,800 had been transformed to 59 FOIN and he could not access it. But even this is not the worst case scenario – an investor from Singapore showed that his balance of $3,000 disappeared without being converted to FOIN coins. Both investors confirmed that they hadn’t received any prior notice of the company’s intention.
The cryptocurrency space seems to be a great place for scammers. A report by WSJ found that a fifth of all the initial coin offering (ICO) projects are potential scams.